“A truly shocking tragedy. Our thoughts are with Jo Cox’s family at this terrible time and it is a dark day for Britain and for lovers of freedom and democracy to see that the British mainland now appears to be firmly on the list of countries blighted by the phenomenon of political assassination”. That is the reaction of APF Vice President Nick Griffin to the news that Labour MP Jo Cox had died after being stabbed and shot three times by a constituent in Birstall, near Dewsbury in Yorkshire.
It is being reported in all the main newspapers online that her attacker shouted “Britain First”, although an eye-witness on Channel 4 News said that he actually shouted “Britain comes first”, which would imply a political rather than a party political motive.
As our main image shows, at least sections of the media have been indecently quick in blaming the BREXIT campaign for the attack on Ms Cox, who was in the street campaigning for Britain to Remain in the EU.
Speaking shortly after the death of the MP and mother-of-two was announced, Mr Griffin continued: “It is as yet too early to say whether the Remain campaign as a whole will be insensitive and ruthless enough to try to make political capital from the murder.
“The last few days of the campaign, with the extraordinary bullying outbursts of Messrs Cameron and Osbourne, threatening the British people with a ‘collective punishment budget’ if they dare to vote to Leave, suggest that the Remain campaign may be desperate enough to try such a tacky approach, but for the sake of British democracy as a whole it is to be hoped that wise heads prevail and that no attempt is made to exploit Ms Cox’s tragic death for political ends.”
The tragedy is not the first time that a Labour MP has been attacked by a constituent in recent years. In May 2010 Roshonara Choudhry, of East Ham, stabbed Stephen Timms, the 55-year-old MP for East Ham, twice in the stomach at a constituency surgery in Newham, east London, because he had voted for the war in Iraq.
During Choudhry’s trial, the Muslim student had been radicalised online by Al Qaeda videos and other Islamist propaganda. At the time, Britain’s liberal left were quick to say that it would be wholly wrong to blame Islam or Muslims in general for the murder. We will know within a few hours whether they will take the same approach to the hundreds of thousands of Brexit campaigners all over Britain, or whether the BBC, Guardian and Remain leaders will instead sink to blaming them all for the actions of one individual.
Whatever the motives of the murderer, assuming he acted alone, he alone is responsible for his actions and, unless he is proven to be clinically insane, he should face the toughest possible penalty for his crime.
Mr Griffin announced on Twitter that he would stop publishing memes attacking the #Remain campaign and promoting #Brexit for the rest of the day as a mark of respect. He is heavily involved in the online campaign for British withdrawal from the European Union.